FlyerTalk Poll: Are You For or Against Telephone Calls During Flights?

Could these empty seats aboard a Boeing 777-300 aircraft one day be filled with passengers talking on cellular telephones or other wireless telecommunications devices during a flight — and could a section of the aircraft be reserved as a “quiet zone” if that indeed does happen? Photograph by FlyerTalk member kingdomchris. Click on the photograph for a trip report written by kingdomchris.

Are you in favor of passengers being permitted to place telephone calls during flights — or are you against it?
Could it depend on your age?
Although 79 percent of travelers greater than the age of 30 are opposed to the usage of cellular telephones during a flight — which is under consideration by the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States, as I reported back in November — younger airline passengers between the ages of 18 and 30 years old apparently are in favor of mobile telephone calls while in flight by 52 percent, according to an article posted at Yahoo! Finance which referred to a recent study announced in a press release.
According to a poll which was posted on FlyerTalk, the statistics as of the time this article was posted consisted of the following:
  • 85.19 percent of FlyerTalk members are opposed to the usage of cellular telephones during a flight
  • 14.81 percent of FlyerTalk members are in favor of the usage of cellular telephones during a flight

FlyerTalk members between the ages of 36 and 55 years old were the vocal majority both for and against the usage of cellular telephones during a flight.
“I’m 46 and see nothing wrong with cell phone usage on board”, FlyerTalk member mikew99 posted. “I’m more bothered by the inconsistency of banning cell phone usage yet doing nothing about loud, boisterous passengers shouting to each other on the plane. It’s just as irritating yet apparently totally acceptable. If you require people to speak in a soft voice, then it won’t matter if they’re talking into a cell phone or talking to their neighbor.”
FlyerTalk member Madhouse24 — who is 40 years old — opines: “Absolutely opposed to it … to many issues with loud passengers, fights, meetings and everything in between … texting wouldn’t bother me at all.”
I have said before that I would support the used of “texting” using a mobile telephone or tablet. I might even relent and say that telephone calls can be permitted during a flight for a fee bordering on exorbitant to discourage passengers from engaging in long conversations. However, the last thing that I want during a flight is to hear a one-sided conversation about some business transaction loudly announced by some buffoon who has no respect or consideration for the peace and quiet of his or her fellow passengers — especially if I am attempting to relax after a long day; or if I did not get enough sleep the night before; or if I had experienced some horrific delays.
You may as well seat me next to a crying baby. It can be that irritating.
The volume of a conversation aboard an airplane may not always be due to the arrogance of a person. There can be a significant amount of ambient noise aboard an airplane during a flight — primarily emanating from the engines or propellors — which can cause a person to speak louder than normal. This may especially be true if the person does not hear well…
…and what about during announcements aboard an airplane during a flight? Will those passengers in the middle of their calls be forced to place their calls temporarily on hold or hang up?
A possible compromise which I had proposed is to designate a specific area of the aircraft where passengers may use cellular telephones to place calls during a flight — and possibly have the airlines charge an ancillary fee. Those passengers would not be denied the opportunity to place telephone calls; other passengers would not have to deal with any potential etiquette and rudeness issues; and the airline can actually profit in the process.
Please vote in the poll and post your thoughts here in the Comments section below.

7 thoughts on “FlyerTalk Poll: Are You For or Against Telephone Calls During Flights?”

  1. sdsearch says:

    “Usage of cellular phones” is a really poor phrasing for a survey. After all, smartphones are already allowed (for non-communication functions) on flights, and smartphones are cellular phones, and using them to play a game or take picture is “usage”. And thus there’s already “usage of cellular phoens” on planes, and I bet if people understood that they’d not be against what’s allowed now.
    To be accurate, the survey has to distinguish between the current non-communicaton usage, non-audio commonications usage (such a texting), listen-only audio usage (such as checking your voicemail), and live voice calls. I bet most people are only against the latter (and maybe voicemail too if speakerphone usage wasn’t banned).
    But it’s not the FCCs (Federal COMMNICATIONS Commision’s) job to tell the difference between texting, listening to voicemail, or live voice calls, From a technical perspective (of communication signals and their potential if any for interference), they’re all the same. But to the passenger, they’re completely different.
    The airlijne itself can forbid live voice calls while allowing either texting and’/or voicemail checking (without use of speakerphone functions, of course). Or the some other agency with jurisdiction (FAA?) can make that fine-pointed decision. But it’s not the FCCs job.

  2. chinatraderjmr says:

    What would anyone be against this. It’s not like many people will use the service anyway – there are huge surcharges on these calls. Air phones have been around for years and the only reason most American carriers took them off is cuz no one used them (they were to expensive). Calls made from personnel cell phones will be just as expensive. I doubt the average traveller who looks for the best fare and balks at paying for food will go anywhere near this I’ve been on numerous EK flights that already have cell service & it was no big deal. A few people could be seen making quick calls The few calls I’ve made were each between $50 – $100 and these were not long calls If no one complained about air phones when they were in use, no one will complain about this

  3. aces_high says:

    There is absolutely no logic in banning cell phone voice calls while allowing data. Voice calls are no different than passenger talking to each other, so why not ban talking on the plane per say.
    I personally am sick and tired of this war on cellphones based on irrational reasoning and some kind of personal agenda. It’s 2014, get on with the program! Cell phones are a part of every day life, get bloody used to it.

  4. Josh Davis says:

    @aces_high It’s a lot more difficult to ignore someone talking into their phone, than it is to zone out from a chatting couple.

  5. IBobi says:

    I have to believe the people in favor of inflight phone calls are the very people who would be most irritating to listen to on one. There’s a combination of lack of empathy and unawareness of one’s own behavior’s effect on others that seems to characterize this set (and of course those under 30 are not to be trusted where mobile etiquette is concerned anyway — they don’t know better because they have not known adult life without one).

  6. Josh Davis says:

    @Ibobi – good point, completely undermined by “…of course those under 30 are not to be trusted where mobile etiquette is concerned…”

  7. Firewind says:

    Please see my diatribe in the FlyerTalk thread. But to show I can be brief: Onboard voice calls no. Onboard texting yes.

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